7,370 children in the West Midlands are homeless and living in temporary accommodation, according to a report launched on Monday by Shelter – which is a rise of 242% in the last five years.
For the first time the charity has exposed the frequency with which children are becoming homeless in the region, as its Generation Homeless report reveals 14 children lose their home every day in the West Midlands.
The report also shines a light on the 670 families with children in the region currently living in emergency B&Bs and hostels – widely considered the worst type of accommodation. Families are often squashed into one room with little space to cook, play or eat their meals; are forced to share bathrooms with strangers; and the accommodation is often located miles away from schools, jobs and loved ones.
With a severe lack of social homes, expensive private rents and welfare cuts driving the country’s housing emergency, Shelter is warning that if nothing changes 126 children across the West Midlands will be made homeless between now and the time of the general election on December 12 and 308 by Christmas day on December 25.
The charity is calling on every political party to put housing at the top of its domestic agenda and is asking the public to support its urgent Christmas appeal.
Putting a microscope on the devastating impact the housing emergency is having on young lives across the region, the report also revealed:
- The areas with the highest proportion of homeless children are Birmingham (1 in every 63 children are homeless), Coventry (1 in 113) and Rugby (1 in 138).
- And this bleak picture is also illustrated in the region’s classrooms, where there is an average of three homeless children per school.
Shelter Birmingham Hub Manager, Vicky Hines, said: “The fact 14 children in the West Midlands become homeless every day is a scandalous figure, and sharp reminder that political promises about tackling homelessness must be turned into real action.
“Day in, day out we see the devastating impact the housing emergency is having on children across the region. Many are being uprooted from their friends, while others are forced to live in cramped B&Bs and go to bed at night scared by the sound of strangers outside.
“Every child has the right to a safe home and if we act now, our frontline advisers can support more homeless families in the West Midlands to get to a better place. Every donation will help Shelter to be there for everyone who need us this Christmas.”
To donate to Shelter’s urgent Christmas appeal please visit: www.shelter.org.uk or text SHELTER to 70030 to donate £3. Texts cost your standard network rate + £3. Shelter receives 100% of your donation.